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Are Fleas Harmful to Humans?

Are Fleas Harmful to Humans?

Fleas are essentially parasites and may contribute to transmitting certain diseases. Know if they are harmful to humans in this article.
Ashwini Kulkarni Sule
Fleas are parasites that commonly infest pets such as cats and dogs. They are parasitic in nature and survive by sucking blood from other creatures. They have six legs with compressed bodies. This particular shape allows them to jump up to 33 cm in a single leap. Besides, the compressed body helps them to crawl through the fur of their host effortlessly. Although fleas are not seriously injurious to pet or human health, they can be extremely annoying and frustrating. Besides, certain species of fleas may transmit blood borne or vector borne diseases.
How are Fleas Harmful to Humans
Fleas suck the blood of the host through its skin. It causes severe itching of the skin. In a way it is similar to lice infestation, however, flea infestation can be more annoying and difficult to get rid of. Besides, it may take weeks before you are actually able to detect a flea infestation. In case you find your pet scratching all the time, it is recommended that you use a special flea comb to check for flea infestation.
If you see tiny black specs on the comb, you can be sure of an infestation. These tiny specs, often called flea dirt is nothing but excretory matter of a flea, upon which larvae feed. If you do not take measures to control flea infestation at this stage, your pet might severely scratch itself. Excessive scratching may cause the skin to become raw or even break, which further paves a way for various diseases and infections.
Flea infestation can quickly spread from pets to humans, if appropriate measures are not taken. If your pet is infested with fleas then you can easily find them crawling underneath your carpet, on your sofa or even inside your bed. Such an infestation can turn very nasty. If you have multiple pets, your chances of acquiring an infestation are even more. Ctenocephalides felis (cat fleas) and Ctenocephalides canis (dog fleas) are two species of fleas which are commonly found in homes.
Although flea infestation need not always be detrimental for your pet's health, you ought to seek control measures as fast as possible. Fleas on humans can easily transmit certain blood borne diseases such as Bubonic plague from one human being to another. Besides, they may also transmit infection and diseases from pets to humans. Abandoning your pets for the fear of contracting an infestation is never a good idea, more so, if you already have an infested home. In this case, the fleas will hunt you and the other people living in the house, in the absence of other viable hosts. Hence, seeking appropriate flea control at home is the only option you have.
How to Control Flea Infestation
Timely intervention may prevent flea infestation from getting nasty. Sometimes, people may get confused with the signs that a dog displays, such as scratching, and may misinterpret it to be just a regular itch that needs to be scratched. In that case, the flea invasion will increase and after sometime it will become very difficult to eradicate them. As a preventive measure, you can administer flea medication regularly on your pets. Besides, close inspection of their fur may also help detect fleas. If you see red, brown or black specs on their fur, you can be certain of a flea infestation.
Once you have treated your pets off fleas, the next step is to make your home flea free. Roll your carpets and rugs and hang them in the sun to get rid of the fleas. If you have an infestation right inside your bedroom, you may try dusting baby powder on your bedspreads and covers. Similarly, you can also sprinkle baby powder on your body if your skin is infested.
One must understand that fleas on their own, cannot be dangerous but excessive scratching and breaking of skin can invite trouble. Hence, one must always control the urge to scratch and seek appropriate medical treatment for flea infestation.